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Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Attention capture by faces
Author(s): Langton, Stephen
Law, Anna S
Burton, A Mike
Schweinberger, Stefan R
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Keywords: Face processing
Attention capture
Issue Date: Apr-2008
Citation: Langton S, Law AS, Burton AM & Schweinberger SR (2008) Attention capture by faces, Cognition, 107 (1), pp. 330-342.
Abstract: We report three experiments that investigate whether faces are capable of capturing attention when in competition with other non-face objects. In Experiment la participants took longer to decide that an array of objects contained a butterfly target when a face appeared as one of the distracting items than when the face did not appear in the array. This irrelevant face effect was eliminated when the items in the arrays were inverted in Experiment 1b ruling out an explanation based on some low-level image-based properties of the faces. Experiment 2 replicated and extended the results of Experiment la. Irrelevant faces once again interfered with search for butterflies but, when the roles of faces and butterflies were reversed, irrelevant butterflies no longer interfered with search for faces. This suggests that the irrelevant face effect is unlikely to have been caused by the relative novelty of the faces or arises because butterflies and faces were the only animate items in the arrays. We conclude that these experiments offer evidence of a stimulus-driven capture of attention by faces.
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Rights: Published in Cognition by Elsevier; Elsevier believes that individual authors should be able to distribute their accepted author manuscripts for their personal voluntary needs and interests, e.g. posting to their websites or their institution’s repository, e-mailing to colleagues. The Elsevier Policy is as follows: Authors retain the right to use the accepted author manuscript for personal use, internal institutional use and for permitted scholarly posting provided that these are not for purposes of commercial use or systematic distribution. An "accepted author manuscript" is the author’s version of the manuscript of an article that has been accepted for publication and which may include any author-incorporated changes suggested through the processes of submission processing, peer review, and editor-author communications.

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